In our modern feminist culture where nothing is off limits, I find it strange that most women still don't know the basic essentials for going to the bathroom correctly.
The last conversation you probably had about toilet habits was when you were a toddler getting potty trained. If you were lucky, you had a mother that taught you a few of her tricks like how to lay toilet paper on the seat or hover over public toilets, or how to navigate some of the intricacies of hygiene during your period. But I'm guessing that you've been left on your own to figure out most of your potty habits.
If that's the case, you are long overdue for some potty talk. These tips I am about to share with you were taught to me when I was living in Australia. Why I had to go halfway around the globe to learn them is beyond me. They are so simple, yet the impact they will have on your body is profound. I wish someone had explained this to me a long time ago, so I am going to pay it forward.
Tip #1: Lean Forward to Pee
Leaning forward slightly, with a straight back and relaxed tummy, is the best way to empty your bladder without causing stress to your pelvic floor muscles. Strained muscles of the pelvis can lead to incontinence or prolapsed pelvic organs. If you aren't familiar with POP (pelvic organ prolapse), it is when your organs (bladder, uterus, or bowels) slide out of place. In the worst cases, they can protrude from your body (more on that in another post).
Tip #2: Raise Your Feet To Poo
I'm guessing that you've seen the funny Squatty Potty commercials with the unicorn doing its business. (watch here) There's actually an important message behind the silliness. By raising the feet, the angle of the hips changes and opens the "kink" in the bowels, allowing the elimination to happen easier and without straining. As I mentioned in Tip #1, if you strain the muscles of the pelvic floor repeatedly throughout your life, they can fail, causing prolapse of a pelvic organ. In this case, that could be your bowels. When your bowel prolapses, it can cause constipation, leaking, and bowels that protrude from your body. That's less than desirable, so please consider raising your feet several inches when you poo.
Tip #3: Never Hover Over The Loo
We've all done it, ladies. Public bathrooms can be nasty, so we hover over the loo (toilet) and deal with the burning quads in the name of hygiene. Plus, it's good because we get in a little extra workout, right? Wrong. The straining muscles that are holding us in the hover are also preventing the bladder from fully emptying. So we have to push harder to get the urine out which causes those all so important muscles of the pelvic floor to fail over time. This attempt to save yourself from germs is harming your future self's organs. So, bring wipes, or put paper down, or just sit on the seat if it looks reasonably clean. Take a deep breath and relax all those core muscles and allow your body to do the rest...while you rest.
Think of it like drops in a bucket. When you hover or strain once, it doesn't matter too much. It is simply one drop in a bucket. However, if you go to the bathroom in this manner for years or decades, those drops add up and fill your bucket until it can handle no more drops. With the damage done and the limit reached, your body begins to fail in its ability to hold in urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze, run, or jump. It can also lead to your organs sliding down, and sometimes out, of your body. If you've had children, this progression can go even quicker.
Friends, let's be kind to our future selves and preserve the strength and function of our pelvic floor muscles by remembering these 3 toilet tips every time you have to "go." Then initiate some potty talk with your girlfriends, daughters, and granddaughters before they get into unhealthy bathroom habits, too.
Good luck, and remember: Lean forward to pee, raise your feet to poo, and never hover over the loo.
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1. Image 1: https://www.dunnptky.com/resources/blog/blog-02262018.html
2. Image 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbYWhdLO43Q
3. Image 3: https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2339939/this-is-why-you-should-always-sit-down-on-a-public-toilet-and-never-squat/
I am a wife, mother, and exercise physiologist with one foot in the world of travel and one foot in the world of fitness. This blog is a mixture of travel adventures and wellness topics that affect women and their families. We've travelled, first in our Airstream and then in Australia, while attempting to balance work, life, health, and relationships. It's been an amazing journey so far. Join me as we navigate new places, adjust to small spaces, and meet new faces.